Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Monday urged the central government to include Bhubaneswar in the draft aviation policy as an international airport.
In a letter to union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati, he said despite the union cabinet declaring Bhubaneswar as an international airport, the central government was yet to give permission for this.
"The state government is at a loss to understand why the central government is not able to abide by its own decision of operationalising the international airport at Bhubaneswar after publishing the International Airport Notification in Extraordinary Gazette of India Nov 14, 2013," said the chief minister.
He said facilities for immigration clearance, health and quarantine are already available at the airport and several airlines are willing to operate their international flights from Bhubaneswar.
"At this juncture, leaving Bhubaneswar out of the list of international airport in the draft aviation policy is surprising to say the least," said Patnaik.
He said people in Odisha are dismayed at the exclusion of Bhubaneswar from the list of proposed international airports in the country.
Stating that confining the idea of hubs to only six airports in metros will be retrogressive and uneconomical, the chief minister said there was a need to immediately shift focus to other cities like Bhubaneswar that have surplus capacities which can be leveraged without additional social, economic and ecological costs.
"Odisha being a manufacturing, commercial and tourist centre is in need of urgent upgradation of the civil aviation infrastructure. Private airlines are willing to operate international flights from Bhubaneswar considering its potential.
"Developing the city as an important airlines hub would create significant business opportunities for everyone and give a new thrust to national development," said Patnaik.